Lex Erath | Sugar and Spice
On Mass. drivers
Published: Monday, September 16, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 16, 2013 20:09
People generally feel one of two ways about generalizations: either they’re completely right or completely wrong (see what I did there?). For that reason, I’d like to add in here a disclaimer for all local Massachusetts kids — you can try to deny what I’m about to say, but you know there’s more than a grain of truth in the particular stereotype I’m about to divulge. Besides, I still hate the Yankees, so I clearly know something.
Massachusetts residents are known for many things, like their loyalties to Boston sports teams, specialty beers and clam chowdah. They’re often described as tough (“Boston Strong”) and fiercely loyal (wear a Yankees hat to a sports bar and you’re just asking for it). But there’s one characteristic they’re known for above all else: their driving skills — or, more accurately, their lack thereof.
As a homegrown MA girl myself, I’m going to let all of you out-of-state foreigners in on a little secret. Massachusetts teenagers take a driving test just like all other licensed drivers (shocking, I know!), but they’re given extra points the closer they can drive to things without actually hitting them, and double points for every extra five mph over the speed limit.
In this way, the necessary driving skills of fearlessness and aggressiveness are instilled in us baby drivers early on. For example, I failed the parallel parking part of my driving test, but I managed to pop a small child’s balloon with my side mirror, so of course I passed with flying colors. Similarly, my best friend can’t do a three-point turn to save his life but has a knack for squeezing through yellow lights, so he earned his license with no trouble.
Although other MA drivers might denounce me as a traitor to my kind, I feel it’s my duty to warn you, because as Tufts students, our lives are in constant jeopardy thanks to the maniacs whizzing around and through our campus 24/7. Mass. drivers take special joy in flaunting their disregard for the hands-at-ten-and-two rule (but seriously, who does that?) and derive an excessive amount of entertainment from scaring the sh*t out of pedestrians. So, fellow students: constant vigilance. While I admit that it will undoubtedly ruin an MA driver’s day to actually run a student over (legal fees! A dirty windshield!), you can’t dispute the fact that in a fight between you and a Boston driver, you will lose, whether they’re behind the wheel or not.
Yet as frightening as it may be to walk the sidewalk when these terrors are loose on the road, believe me when I tell you it’s even worse to actually be driving with them. Nothing makes a Massachusetts driver happier than cutting off the guy in the lane next to him, preferably without the use of a turn signal (blinkers are for weenies and Yankees fans). It is a common view that turn signals “take the fun out of it,” as they “give away,” where you’re about to drive. Don’t bother swearing angrily, leaning on your horn, or flipping them off — it will only add to their enjoyment.
Jumbos, I implore you — don’t bite off more than you can chew with these wannabe-NASCAR racers. Should the time come (and pray it doesn’t) when you yourself are required to get behind the wheel and join the traffic yourself, your best bet is to ensure your will is up to date, slap on an anti-Yankees bumper sticker, and maybe take the subway instead anyway.
Lex Erath is a sophomore who has yet to declare her major. She can be reached at Alexandra.Erath@tufts.edu.